Digital POV: Adblock Plus selling ads


Eyeo (owners of Adblock Plus) announced yesterday at DMEXCO that they will launch an Ad Exchange called the Acceptable Ad Platform, where they will continue to serve ads to users who have blocked ads as long as they meet “acceptable” criteria set by AdBlock Plus.

Details and Implications:

Mindshare and GroupM have always been vocal on our position against AdBlock Plus whitelisting practices, as it feels a little underhanded to compel advertisers to meet an arbitrary set of standards set by an un-appointed third party and to be charged for the privilege.

This latest move by Eyeo means that they are now moving from gatekeeper of “ad quality” to supplier and by taking a cut of the proceeds along the way, removes any claim to impartiality they may have once attested to.

Also, from an ad-blocking user viewpoint, seeing ads from a brand when you are expecting an ad-free experience could cause negative feelings towards that brand – giving the impression that said brand is doing everything they can to circumvent your desired experience of the web.

However, all this could be academic, as recent media reports linking Google and AppNexus to this move as demand-side partners appear to be unfounded as statements from both companies deny any involvement and AppNexus went a step further by suspending the company ComboTag, who made the partnership claim and making the following statement:

"AppNexus does not work with companies like Eyeo; we regard their business practices as fundamentally harmful to the ecosystem. Essentially, Eyeo, via its Adblock product, erects toll booths on a public road and siphons off advertising dollars that should be going directly to publishers. We hold that practice in low regard.

ComboTag issued today's announcement without our knowledge or authorization. The only AppNexus contact with whom they previewed details of the initiative was a junior support manager who is not authorized to sign off on it. When the story was posted today, we promptly informed ComboTag that we would not allow Eyeo on our platform, even through the back door."


Advertisers should consider very carefully before using this new channel as it could potentially lead to negative connotations around the user brand experience and also harm long-term relationships with the publishers.

It is also a poorly thought-out move into a new revenue stream by Eyeo that could jeopardise their market-share with users switching to other Ad blocking providers in order to enjoy their ad-free web experience.